Week 10 DVOA Ratings
by Aaron Schatz
There were some big moves up and down the Football Outsiders DVOA ratings this week, but not at the top or the bottom of the rankings.
The Philadelphia Eagles are still No. 1, and their DVOA rating has gone up since last week. That makes a lot of sense when you consider that the No. 1 Eagles defense shut down the best offense in the league last Sunday. Seattle and Dallas traded places at No. 2 and No. 3 this week, which means that Sunday's Philadelphia at Seattle game presents us with the rare contest between the top two teams in DVOA. The Seahawks have something going for them that even the Eagles don't: after their offensive showing against the Patriots, they actually now kind of qualify as a balanced team. The Seahawks are 11th on offense, fifth on defense, and 13th on special teams. Only one other team ranks in the top half of the league in all three categories... but we'll get to that in a moment.
Just below Dallas, No. 4 Atlanta and No. 5 New England stay about the same in our ratings after their losses to the top two teams.
Then come the surprises.
Five weeks ago, the Miami Dolphins were 1-4 and ranked 28th in DVOA. After a four-game winning streak, the Dolphins are now 5-4 and have climbed all the way up to sixth in DVOA. They were 12th just one week ago, but they put up 66.4% DVOA in the win over San Diego on Sunday. (This is where I would usually put in one of those cool week-to-week graphs were this article not running so massively late because of continued data feed issues.)
Miami is the other team that ranks in the top half of the league with all three units. The Dolphins climb to 16th in offensive DVOA and seventh in defensive DVOA this week. They also rank 10th on special teams. Miami's rise gives the AFC East three teams in the top 10, something even the AFC West can't claim (although the NFC East can). The Dolphins are now ahead of the entire AFC West in DVOA; unfortunately for the Dolphins, they aren't ahead in wins and therefore they aren't ahead in playoff odds. Meanwhile, the Chargers drop from 13th to 20th with this loss, through they still have a positive overall DVOA. Yes, that's correct: there are 20 teams with positive DVOA right now. There's a huge pack of teams are just a little better than average, with 13 different teams between -0.5% DVOA and 7.0% DVOA.
Right behind the Dolphins are the Oakland Raiders, who move up two spots on their bye week thanks to changes in opponent adjustments. (By the way, this is the first week of the year with full opponent adjustments at 100 percent strength.) And then the No. 8 team is now Washington, which moves up from 15th to eighth after a solid win against the Vikings.
That close pack of teams that's just a little bit above average makes it a lot easier to move quickly up and down the rankings, and there are three other teams that move up six or more spots this week. Pittsburgh's close game with Dallas was good for both teams, and the Steelers go from 17th to 10th. DVOA believes the Saints clearly outplayed the Broncos, despite the fluke game-winning defensive two-point conversion, so the Saints move up from 20th to 14th while the Broncos drop from sixth to 11th. The Ravens also move up significantly for spanking the Browns, going from 22nd to 15th. The Ravens are now the No. 2 defense in the league according to DVOA, trailing only Philadelphia.
It's a little surprising that there aren't larger jumps for two teams that won big last week: Tampa Bay and Tennessee. The Titans' overall DVOA went up but they're still in the same place as last week, 21st. The Bucs move up slightly from 25th to 23rd. However, the teams they beat take a much larger hit. Green Bay falls all the way from seventh to 18th this week (from 9.4% to 1.5% in DVOA). Chicago drops all the way from 16th to 24th (from 2.5% to -8.0% in DVOA).
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Once again this season, we have teamed up with EA Sports to bring Football Outsiders-branded player content to Madden 17 Ultimate Team. Each week, we'll be picking out a handful of players who starred in that week's games. Some of them will be well-known players who stood out in DVOA and DYAR. Others will be under-the-radar players who only stood out with advanced stats. We'll announce the players each Tuesday in the DVOA commentary article, and the players will be available in Madden Ultimate Team packs the following weekend, beginning at 11am Eastern on Friday. We will also tweet out images of these players from the @fboutsiders Twitter account on most Fridays. The best player of each week, the Football Outsiders Hero, will require you to collect a set of the other four Football Outsiders players that week, plus a certain number of Football Outsiders collectibles available in Madden Ultimate Team packs.
The Football Outsiders stars for Week 10 are:
- CB Marcus Peters (FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS HERO): Game-winning forced fumble plus 4 passes defensed.
- P Johnny Hekker, LARM: 7 punts for average of 51.7 gross yards and 50.3 net yards.
- MLB Gerald Hodges, SF: Interception plus 4 run tackles of 2 yards or less.
- RE Cameron Jordan NO: Led Saints with 9 combined tackles, including a sack and 2 run TFL, and 3 QB knockdowns.
- RG Brandon Scherff, WAS: Washington RB gained 80 yards on 14 carries to the right side, with 64 percent success rate against a top-10 run defense.
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All stats pages are now updated through Week 10 of 2016. Snap counts, playoff odds, and the premium DVOA database are also fully updated. We're still working on the programs that build drive and pace stats so we can bring those back in the near future.
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These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through ten weeks of 2016, measured by our proprietary Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) system that breaks down every single play and compares a team's performance to the league average based on situation in order to determine value over average. (Explained further here.)
OFFENSE and DEFENSE DVOA are adjusted to consider all fumbles, kept or lost, as equal value. SPECIAL TEAMS DVOA is adjusted for type of stadium (warm, cold, dome, Denver) and week of season. As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE. As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE.
WEIGHTED DVOA represents an attempt to figure out how a team is playing right now, as opposed to over the season as a whole, by making recent games more important than earlier games.
To save people some time, please use the following format for all complaints:
<team> is clearly ranked <too high/too low> because <reason unrelated to DVOA>. <subjective ranking system> is way better than this. <unrelated team-supporting or -denigrating comment, preferably with poor spelling and/or chat-acceptable spelling>
- NON-ADJUSTED TOTAL DVOA does not include the adjustments for opponent strength or the adjustments for weather and altitude in special teams, and only penalizes offenses for lost fumbles rather than all fumbles.
- ESTIMATED WINS uses a statistic known as "Forest Index" that emphasizes consistency as well as DVOA in the most important specific situations: red zone defense, first quarter offense, and performance in the second half when the score is close. It then projects a number of wins adjusted to a league-average schedule and a league-average rate of recovering fumbles. Teams that have had their bye week are projected as if they had played one game per week.
- PAST SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents played this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative). It is not adjusted for which games are home or road.
- FUTURE SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents still left to play this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative). It is not adjusted for which games are home or road.
- VARIANCE measures the statistical variance of the team's weekly DVOA performance. Teams are ranked from most consistent (#1, lowest variance) to least consistent (#32, highest variance).
101 comments, Last at 19 Nov 2016, 3:34pm
#1 by DezBailey // Nov 15, 2016 - 10:06pm
The Week 10 BES Rankings came out earlier today - http://besreport.com/week-10-bes-rankings-2016/
Dallas still #1 in the BES with the Chiefs taking over at #2. Pats, Seahawks and Raiders round out the BES top 5. Surprised to see the Eagles still atop DVOA...figured the Seahawks would take over there after the win over the Pats. Like DVOA, the BES is also feeling the Dolphins and has them at No. 9.
However, I don't get DVOA's hate of the Texans, a 6-3 team atop their division. The BES has the Texans 11th and tied for second highest strength of the schedule with the Packers who are 4-5. Nevertheless, the Titans may end up taking the AFC South at the pace they're going. Mariota has been a machine of late.
#4 by DezBailey // Nov 15, 2016 - 10:41pm
Trust me, their Pass Pro score is dropping. The current score is still influenced a bit from earlier in the season when their line was relatively healthy before their Week 6 bye. Their pass pro has gone to hell since.
#6 by theslothook // Nov 15, 2016 - 10:50pm
How do you measure pass pro? Do nfl play by play record pressure's? Also, even if you did; I'm pretty convinced pressures by themselves are somewhat of an imperfect measure of pass pro since qb and scheme go a long way.
#75 by DezBailey // Nov 16, 2016 - 2:53pm
Their 8 sacks allowed in five games before the bye vs their 16 sacks allowed in four games after the bye disagrees with you. Also, they had the same starting 5 for the first couple of games before Clemmings replaced Kalil at LT after Week 2. They didn't lose Smith at RT until after Week 4. therefore, compared to the lines they've been fielding after their bye, that pre-bye group was indeed "relatively healthy".
#77 by Will Allen // Nov 16, 2016 - 3:21pm
Kalil didn't get injured in week 2. He was hurt, trying to play through it, couldn't and then went on IR. Mike Harris was projected to be a starter, was diagnosed with an illness, and was placed on the non-football injury list in the summer. When you are down two straters, even though one is trying to play through it, "relatively healthy" is a term without a lot of utility. Yes, zero degrees fahrenheit is relatively warmer than 20 below, but the former standard isn't much use for the concept of warmth.
It is an error to use sacks as a sole measure of blocking quality. They stunk against the Titans. Completely. They won the game anyways because the defense scored two touchdowns. They stunk against the Packers, giving up 4 sacks. They were not good against the Panthers, Giants, or Texans, but because the defense kept getting turnovers, they never had to play from behind for very long. Yes, they got worse when Smith was hurt, but it is simply not the case that they have ever been as good as average at pass protection at any time this year.
#95 by DezBailey // Nov 17, 2016 - 3:33pm
I didn't write that "Kalil was injured in Week 2"...I stated he was replaced by Clemmings after Week 2. But I get your point about him playing through the hip and looking at the difference in terms of health. Good points there and well illustrated haha.
I also agree on using sacks as a sole measure of blocking quality. I don't use them in that regard. But the difference is so straight-forward and startling, it had to be noted. The chasm grows even wider when we look at QB Hits Pre and Post bye for the Vikes....29 in five games pre-bye... 36 in four games post bye. Post bye with Long at LT and Clemmings at RT...Boone missing a game at LG, replaced by Sirles.
Seriously, lets look again at the 8 sacks allowed over the first five games...that's an average of 1.6 per game over that span. That'd tie Pittsburgh for 7th best in the league right now. The 16 sacks in their last four games...4 sacks per...would land them at 32nd....worse than the Colts.
The 29 QB hits allowed...5.8 per game over the first five...would be 52 after nine games. That'd tie them with the Bears at 17th for fewest allowed right now. That's middle of the pack. However, the 36 qb hits in the last four...a pace of 9 per game...81 after nine games...good enough for dead last in the league in fewest allowed. Only Cleveland would have less with 79.
I know numbers are just numbers...but DAMN! *In my Negan voice* ...these can't be dismissed.
Granted, Boone's been a walking MASH unit, would you lend any credence to lack of continuity here as the reason for the difference in the numbers pre and post bye? Clearly they had more continuity for most part over the first five games than they've had in the last four. Perhaps, continuity is a more useful term here than health? lol
#101 by DezBailey // Nov 19, 2016 - 3:34pm
Yes, I think 18-22 would be more subjectively agreeable to most for the Texans. The BES, however, is influenced quite a bit by them being atop the AFC South, 3-0 in the division and 4-2 in the AFC despite them not playing the most impressive football.
However, they're 1-3 on the road and 1-2 against AFC teams outside of the South where they scored a combined 9 points in those two losses. That doesn't bode well for their odds at the Raiders this week.
#5 by theslothook // Nov 15, 2016 - 10:48pm
Adam Gase deserves a lot of credit. I was impressed with him in Denver. It would be pretty standard for a coordinator to just defer to Manning in all things offense, but it was Gase who approached him about incorporating more wrinkles into their offense. He even said - we can run interesting stuff from other teams through our usual setup. Manning loved it and the two really were symbiotic.
Even still, Gase really earned high esteem with his work on Cutler and now Tanny. Its a bit unfortunate for him that he plays in a division with the patriots so he'll perpetually have to deal with that; but he's really shown himself to be a pretty good hire so far.
#38 by Noahrk // Nov 16, 2016 - 10:33am
Truly. What is really unfortunate, however, is that he has Tannebaum for a GM, the master at minimizing resources. As for the Patriots, how long can Brady have left? Before you answer, remember it seemed like Manning was also going to go on forever.
#47 by dmstorm22 // Nov 16, 2016 - 11:40am
It was actually two years ago right about now, where Peyton Manning's career changed.
Through 9 games in 2014, he was, I believe, the top rated QB by DVOA/DYAR, and was 239/353 (67.7%), with 2,912 yards (8.3 y/a), 29 TDs and 7 INTs with a 112.0 passer rating.
The next game he went to St. Louis and got battered well and the Broncos lost 7-22.
He was never the same again.
It happens quickly.
#53 by Toner // Nov 16, 2016 - 12:02pm
The very next week he was fine against the Chargers... until the quad injury. *That* is when he went downhill.
#69 by RBroPF // Nov 16, 2016 - 1:12pm
Just to clarify, it "can" happen quickly, it doesn't necessarily have to.
I think the big thing that happened to Peyton was the neck injury. I know he came back and played great after that but he never had the same arm strength and that's what ultimately did him in (along with other injuries).
It will be injuries that eventually doom Brady, along with the age that makes it harder, or impossible, to recover from them fully. It's possible (but not certain) that the way Brady takes care of himself will help with both avoiding injuries and recovering from them. But other than that, injury luck is injury luck. It could happen tomorrow, or 5 years from now.
#88 by flyerhawk // Nov 17, 2016 - 11:51am
It always happens quickly to the players that try to maximize their careers. A seemingly minor injury occurs and all of the sudden the QB loses significant arm strength and just can't hit throws they used to. They go from dominant to average to below average quickly.
#7 by Cythammer // Nov 15, 2016 - 11:37pm
The 30th best team in the league, Houston, has a better chance (though not by much) of making the playoffs than does the 6th best team. Crazy. I'd guess that's the first time that's ever been the case this late in the season.
In fact, it gets even crazier, since there actually FOUR teams in the top 10 with smaller chances of making the postseason than the Texans.
#9 by herewegobrowni… // Nov 16, 2016 - 12:11am
The thing about both those Seahawks and Panthers teams is they each ended the regular season on a roll, and had a playoff win. (The Panthers also outgained the NFC Champ Seahawks the next game.)
While we're looking at the bottom of the rankings, it's amusing that the Browns are also technically mathematically alive if they go 6-10. Cue Jim Mora...
#63 by theslothook // Nov 16, 2016 - 12:39pm
This on a roll phenomenon rarely plays out in practice. 2010 Ne shattered the weighted dvoa record. 2012 broncos won 10 straight.
On the flip side, both giants sbs and the 2012 ravens and even the 2008 cardinals all were pretty listless through the end of the season.
#70 by RBroPF // Nov 16, 2016 - 1:18pm
It's likely those anecdotes are the result of small sample sizes. It's pretty clear that the 2010 Patriots were far and away the best team in the league at the end of that season. But you know, any given Sunday, combined with a single elimination tournament rarely crowns the best team. I'd still much rather be playing well at the end of the season than not.
#22 by osoviejo // Nov 16, 2016 - 7:24am
I like to thank Torry Holt for that winning streak. During the 2005 draft, he was asked about the Seahawks and said to the effect that "they don't win because they're mentally soft."
The Seahawks went to the Super Bowl that year, and the Rams haven't had a winning season since.
#87 by fyo // Nov 17, 2016 - 5:29am
A complete dissection of why the Houston Texans have such a miserable DVOA would be interesting.
The Texans have been absolutely clobbered in their 3 losses (18, 18, and 27 points), but of their six wins, all but two have been by at least a touchdown with the two close wins both being by three points. The losses have been against the Patriots, Broncos, and Vikings (back when they were undefeated and playing like contenders). Not exactly chumps. Their wins have come against the Bears, Chiefs, Titans, Colts, Lions, and Jaguars.
That miserable list makes it seem like opponent adjustment could be an issue, but that adjustment is actually quite small.
It would be interesting to see how much they are getting killed by their three huge losses.
#12 by Richie // Nov 16, 2016 - 2:49am
I'm surprised Miami moved up so far this week. I was only able to watch the second half, but I feel like San Diego mostly outplayed them in the half, except for Rivers' interceptions.
In particular, the fourth quarter. I felt like San Diego was moving the ball, but the interceptions (obviously) killed them. On the other side, Miami seemed to mostly struggle, except for the 56-yard pass to Parker, and that drive only ended in a field goal.
Does DVOA give equal "blame" to Rivers and "credit" to Miami for the interceptions?
#16 by fyo // Nov 16, 2016 - 4:32am
I love the Dolphins, but even I would have to consume copious amounts of mind-altering substances in order to truly believe they are the 6th best team in the league.
I don't agree that SD "mostly outplayed" the Dolphins, though. The lead changed all throughout the game (5 times) and the Dolphins were ahead going into the fourth quarter, which is where Rivers threw all 4 picks. Would the Dolphins have won without them? No, probably not, but if you remove Rivers' picks, there are a few Dolphins mistakes I'd like to remove as well ;).
I really disliked the refs, I have to say. They were the most flag-happy crew coming into the game and after calling a solid first half, they went totally flag-crazy in the second. It's not that the penalties were necessarily wrong (individually, they were okay), it's just that the consistency was very poor overall.
As for DVOA and interceptions, this is a weakness (IMHO) in the FO scoring system. Rivers is docked fully for EVERY single interception thrown. Even if a team is down 3 scores late and any action that improves win-probability involves a lot of risk, the quarterback is still docked fully for all interceptions.
The sole exception to the interception rule is on fourth down inside two minutes. Apparently regardless of team (ahead or behind), which is odd, to say the least. (This is how it is written in the "methods" section, anyway).
#98 by FrontRunningPhinsFan // Nov 17, 2016 - 4:40pm
You can say that again. I was angry at the Dolphins for holding nearly every play, not the refs. But to not call it against SD was complete B.S.
And no Kool-Aid here either. They'll find a way to screw it up. They always do. That said - FOUR IN A ROW!!!! I'll take it.
#14 by Will Allen // Nov 16, 2016 - 3:16am
The Vikings are now signing undrafted free agents off of other teams' practice squads, to get enough healthy o linemen on their roster, and those undrafted free agents have a decent chance of playing a significant number of snaps. If they finish in the top 28 in offense by season's end, Schurmur deserves a raise as oc. If they knew the o linemen were going to keep getting stacked on IR like cordwood, they probably never make the Bradford trade. Man, what a way for a promising season to get destroyed.
This is a year where a mid tier team could have one of their poorer units pull it together in January, and record 3 or 4 upsets on the way to hoisting the trophy.
#18 by fyo // Nov 16, 2016 - 4:47am
This is a year where a mid tier team could have one of their poorer units pull it together in January, and record 3 or 4 upsets on the way to hoisting the trophy.
Dolphins fan getting excited here.
Then reality hits. No, 6th in DVOA is ridiculous, likely at least in part due to overestimating opponent strength (hello Buffalo and your 16-0 thrashing of NE).
The Dolphins season has been really weird. The period with losses was marred by injured linemen and dropped touchdown passes galore (league average less than 1 a season, Miami had one game with 2 *dropped* TDs), which also explains a large part of Tannehill's miserable DVOA stats. Since DVOA punishes "short" interceptions more, such as those caused by being hit as you are throwing 2.3 seconds after the snap (also happened twice), he's going to have to put up near-perfect games most weeks from here on out to get back into positive territory. With the offensive line starters back, though, it's looked a lot better, even on days where the run game isn't working (like against SD).
On the other hand, this 4-game win streak has been helped by game winning touchdowns from a pick-6 and a 96-yard kickoff return. That doesn't seem likely to keep happening.
#20 by James-London // Nov 16, 2016 - 5:28am
Mostly agree with this. I'd add that Miami's #7 ranking on D is also misleading. Miami's pass-rush is certainly top-10 but that's hiding a bad secondary. If the rush doesn't get home that secondary is flammable. The holding calls are a telling indicator-Miami's DB's are holding as the only viable alternative to be torched.
The pass rush hides this, but when Miami play a good o-line it could get ugly fast.
A Miami @ Oakland playoff game might set records.
Phil Simms is a Cretin.
#58 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Nov 16, 2016 - 12:29pm
Don't want to pour too much sugar in your ear, but the 2015 Panthers rode a strong pass rush and mediocre secondary (After watching a several Washington games, I don't buy that Josh Norman is really that good) to the Superbowl. No, I don't think Miami is a SB contender, but they're at least a playoff quality team.
I think Miami's problem as far as making the playoffs is a difficult remaining schedule and the fact that 3/4 of the AFC West is 2 games ahead of them in the win column.
#78 by James-London // Nov 16, 2016 - 3:28pm
I'm not drinking the Kool-Aid. Miami are more likely to lose to the three of their next four as they are to ride the D-line deep into the playoffs. I'm not expecting playoffs in any event because as you sat, the AFCW looks favourite for both wild-card spots. Even though they all have to play each other, Miami (or anyone else) is likely to need 11 wins for a WC this year and that means going 6-1 to finish, with @Bills & @NE to finish the season.
10-6 and no post-season? So very Miami Dolphins...
Phil Simms is a Cretin.
#80 by James-London // Nov 16, 2016 - 3:41pm
Without question. Gase appears to have assembled a good staff, and there was a piece by Armando Salguero of the Herald yesterday that said for the first time since Parcells took over there's no organisational drama of infighting.
Phil Simms is a Cretin.
#19 by Cythammer // Nov 16, 2016 - 5:12am
Mid-tier teams always have a chance of running the table come January. That's what you get when you have a single elimination tournament. We've seen plenty of fairly recent examples of non-elite teams making or winning the Super Bowl.
#28 by Will Allen // Nov 16, 2016 - 8:45am
To me, "mid-tier" begins at #13 in the week 17 DVOA rankings. A team in that category hasn't won the last game since the 2007 Giants (the Giants were #12 in 2011) at #14, and I think that it is the only time it has occurred in the DVOA era, stretching back to 1989. I think it could happen this year.
#31 by BJR // Nov 16, 2016 - 9:07am
I don't really see a mid-ranked team causing a stir this year. Seattle just showed that New England is beatable if you have an offence that can go toe-to-toe with them, but who is going to do that in the AFC? Pittsburgh? Oakland? Both of those teams have bad defenses that will surely be shredded by the Pats. Basically I don't see another well-rounded contender in the AFC to compete with New England. Of course upsets can happen, but that's what it would be: an upset.
In the NFC Dallas and Seattle have the inside track to home field advantage, both of whom will be strongly favored at home over any other team on current ratings. The Packers or Cardinals could conceivably solve their offensive issues and become dangerous low seeded teams. But beyond that, I think you are looking at upsets again.
#32 by Will Allen // Nov 16, 2016 - 9:28am
Of course you are looking at upsets, if a team ranked 13 or lower is to win it all. The point is none of the teams ranked higher are so good that it would be terribly surprising that they lost to such a team.
#45 by BJR // Nov 16, 2016 - 11:14am
Right, I just don't see those upsets as more likely than usual this year. In particular I believe DVOA is currently undervaluing New England and Seattle, both of whom are currently rated a good deal better than any other team by the sportsbooks. If both those teams achieve home-field advantage, well, good luck to the rest.
#46 by Will Allen // Nov 16, 2016 - 11:27am
New England can't rush the passer with any consistency. They could lose, without it being a surprise, to any team who has a qb that gets hot on that given day.
Now, if we what we saw in Seattle's o-line against the Patriots, not just against a poor pass rushing unit, but in the running game, becomes the typical performance, then Seattle becomes quite formidable. We'll see if that happens.
(edit) Weirdly enough, the Giants are a team that once again that could be around 13 in the DVOA ranks, and win the last game. The biggest impediment is that if the defense continues on the current trend line for the next 7 weeks, the Giants will likely climb into the top 10 by DVOA.
#48 by dmstorm22 // Nov 16, 2016 - 11:42am
Let's not forget the Bills were 7 yards away from beating Seattle in Seattle just six days before the NE game.
They aren't unbeatable. They'll improve when Bennett gets back, but I still worry about that O-Line either getting Wilson hurt again, or making it tough for them to score against a defense that can actually rush the passer.
As for New England, it will be tough to beat them, but a good offense has a shot at outscoring them. I could foresee a world where the Raiders win a 34-31 type shootout. It's a stretch, but it is possible.
#49 by Will Allen // Nov 16, 2016 - 11:54am
Oakland can block, and has a qb who might have the best throwing ability in the league. They could hang 40 on the Patriots without it being a shocker.
Tell me what the trend line is on the Seattle o-line for the next 10 weeks, and I'll tell you how good they are. After the last game, I think they might be extremely good. My opinion might change in a few days. I just don't know what to think.
Look, on top of this, we have a Dallas team which can dominate anybody on a given day, because they have 5 sluggers that put human beings on their asses with great consistency, and a running back who makes the most of that fact. Then again, they could get beat by anybody who has a nice day on offense, because their defense simply isn't that talented.
It's a very interesting year, in my opinion, despite all the furor over declining ratings.
#56 by BJR // Nov 16, 2016 - 12:28pm
If Oakland played in New England tomorrow, the Pats would be favored by more than a touchdown without a shadow of a doubt (for perspective they were favored by more than a TD against Seattle this week). We risk getting into debating semantics, but Oakland winning that would class as a shock in my mind. The Oakland defense is very bad, and it would be surprising if the Patriots didn't hang 40 on them.
Of course, we are dealing with probabilities of teams winning individual games, which in the NFL are rarely >80%. So it would not be a *shock* if the Patriots did not reach the Super Bowl. But as for there not being an outstanding team in either conference, and it being a year ripe for a middling team - I don't agree. I think we risk confusing the absence of a flawless team, with the absence of a team (or teams) that are clearly superior to the rest of the field, albeit flawed.
#65 by Will Allen // Nov 16, 2016 - 12:50pm
Sure they would be favored by more than 7. The Rams were once favored by 14 in a Super Bowl against the Patriots, but putting cash on the Patriots was one of easiest Super Bowl wagers in my memory, because the perception of clear Rams superiority was much stronger than reality. The reality this year is that when you can't rush the passer, there is no loss to a good passing team which is especially surprising. None.
The closest thing we have had to a shocking Super Bowl champ really is the 2007 Giants because the Pats were great, even if they weren't peaking, and the Giants really were so-so overall, even if they did get hot in the playoffs. Absent Neal getting hurt in the game, I think the Patriots win somewhat comfortably.
#72 by Will Allen // Nov 16, 2016 - 1:38pm
2007 qualifies. No outcome this year, absent a team ranked lower than 16 winning, would come close to that result, for the simple reason that none of the favorites are terrific teams, although if Seattle ends up blocking well the next 7 weeks I'll change my mind.
#57 by theslothook // Nov 16, 2016 - 12:29pm
I dont find too many credible threats to Ne in the afc. Sure they could get upset, but the game will be in foxborough and every other challenger has bigger flaws than they do.
The nfc is the tougher, more interesting conference. I keep waiting for Dallas' defense to cost them and hasn't once yet.
#33 by Joe Pancake // Nov 16, 2016 - 9:35am
"The Vikings are now signing undrafted free agents off of other teams' practice squads..."
There is some sort of weird cosmic link between the Vikings and Seahawks. I think it started with Mike Tice and passed on through Tarvaris Jackson and Percy Harvin.
This year they both have really good defenses and terrible offensive lines. (The Seahawks starting left tackle is an undrafted free agent, who, prior to this season, basically hadn't played football since junior high.) They both lost their All-Pro caliber running back and both their quarterbacks were hurt early on.
Really the only major difference is that Russell Wilson has recovered to "a little bit gimpy" status, and a little bit gimpy Russell Wilson is better than Sam Bradford. That's basically the difference between legit Super Bowl contender and fringe playoff team.
Football might be "won in the trenches," but having an awesome quarterback goes a long way as well.
#42 by Joe Pancake // Nov 16, 2016 - 10:57am
True, but it's tough to say if that was more the Patriots D-line and scheme, or if the Seahawks O-line is rounding into well-below-average-but-not-absolutely-atrocious form like they do every year.
This very topic started a mini Twitter spat between Bill Simmons and Cris Collinsworth. (Don't worry, they virtually hugged it out on Simmons' podcast.)
#55 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Nov 16, 2016 - 12:19pm
This link explains it better than I can:
Collinsworth didn't take too kindly to Simmons criticizing him for praising Seattle's offensive line performance without taking into account New England's problems rushing the passer. Collinsworth responded by making a jibe about Simmons' HBO show getting cancelled.
#54 by formido // Nov 16, 2016 - 12:16pm
I think it's more likely the Pats's D-line is bad and a healthy Wilson plus the addition of Prosise to the spread offense was really helpful. I think Seattle's line will be abused as hard as ever this week against the Eagles.
#74 by tictoc // Nov 16, 2016 - 2:12pm
Agreed. A healthy Rawls teamed with Prosise may make for a decent rushing attack but I forsee a typical Seahawk game against a formidable front 7; Low-scoring slugfest.
-----------> to exist is to comply<-----------
#21 by Cythammer // Nov 16, 2016 - 5:49am
Division rivals Baltimore and Pittsburgh are on opposite ends when it comes to past and future schedules. The Ravens have had the easiest schedule in the league so far, but now have the hardest slate left, while the Steelers have had the toughest schedule so far, but the easiest from here on in. That would probably explain why the two have almost exactly equal chances to make the playoffs, despite Baltimore being a full game up and having an advantage in the tiebreakers.
#24 by BobbyDazzler // Nov 16, 2016 - 8:05am
I don't think the Saints moved up 6 spots purely due to playing the Broncos close, it's probably more due to opponent adjustments given they've either beaten or played close games against Seattle, Oakland, Denver, KC and the Giants.
I always find the estimated wins column interesting - Oakland have 5.5 estimated wins but sit at 7-2 while the Saints have 5.8 estimated wins but are only 4-5. Just shows that a couple of plays here and there can define a team's season.
#34 by rich006 // Nov 16, 2016 - 9:50am
Every week the discussion has to mention the clustering of teams and how the rankings don't tell the whole story. How to tell the story better? Instead of a ranked list of teams, build a scatter plot of team icons, with defensive DVOA on the horizontal axis (better/more negative to the right) and offensive DVOA on the vertical axis. Better yet, put previous weeks' data on the same plot (longer in past = fainter icons) to show the trend over time. In this infographic, you could immediately see which teams stand out and which are improving.
Just a suggestion...
#41 by Raiderjoe // Nov 16, 2016 - 10:41am
No way Dolpjhsin are better than Raiders. if DVOA comouyer was person would be drunk guy passed out in alleyway.
Cowboys, Seahawks, Pates acceptable as far as beign higher than Raiders. could argue DFalcs too especially since beat Raiders.
#44 by MilkmanDanimal // Nov 16, 2016 - 11:03am
Not overly shocked the Bucs didn't jump up much; they have one quality win (ATL, week one, before the Falcons put it together), and they've squeaked by a mediocre Panthers team, and blown out lousy Chicago and SF teams. They got kind of stomped by the Cardinals, Broncos, and ATL the second time, lost to a middling Rams squad, and managed to lose to the Human Penalty Reel known as the Raiders. There's nothing really special about their season, and their variance is 30th in the league, after only the Steelers and Chiefs.
The only thing I find kind of interesting about Tampa's rating is they're 23rd overall, but 19th in offence, 14th in defense, and 22nd in ST, meaning the individual parts are all somewhat less mediocre than the whole.
#51 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Nov 16, 2016 - 11:57am
"There's nothing really special about their season"
They have a quarterback whose good plays (hilariously long scramble and throw against Chicago) and bad plays could both be soundtracked by "Yakety Sax". What's not to love about that?
#60 by theslothook // Nov 16, 2016 - 12:33pm
Was that scramble really a good play? Technically it was, I suppose, but I'd pretty unhappy to see him try that again. Drifting that far back in the pocket and nearly getting sacked in the end zone is usually indicative of pretty horrible qb awareness.
#82 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 16, 2016 - 4:28pm
When was the last time the #30 DVOA team had a better record than the #1?
A Cowboys-Patriots SB would be fascinating, given DVOA thinks they are the same team.
It's a shame the Lions don't play their evil twin, the Ravens. They already played their identical twin, the Colts. The game was as close as expected.
#100 by poplar cove // Nov 18, 2016 - 2:17pm
Lions did play another evil twin in the Rams few weeks back and have another identical twin type game coming soon with the Saints. Lots of these type games across NFL this year it seems with so many teams being rated a good spots better on one side of the football.
#92 by PatsFan // Nov 17, 2016 - 1:43pm
NFL has put everyone on notice that Chip Kelly's gambit will only be allowed once per game:
"Remember the play last week where the 49ers intentionally held the Saints receivers with 8 seconds left in the first half so that the Saints couldn’t try for a touchdown from the 17-yard line and had to kick a field goal? The NFL has adjusted. If it happens more than once, the officials have been instructed to call a 15-yard, unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for a “palpably unfair act,” according to a league source and the time would be put back on the clock."
#96 by Travis // Nov 17, 2016 - 4:24pm
The Polish defense was made irrelevant by a rule change after the Giants (accidentally) had 12 men on the field during the Patriots' last drive of Super Bowl XLVI. Since 2012, Rule 5-1-1 instructs the referees to stop play (and the clock) before the snap if the defense has 12 or men on the field when the snap is imminent.
#97 by PatsFan // Nov 17, 2016 - 4:37pm
Why don't they just give the team accepting the penalty the option to put the time back on the clock. That'll guarantee that a team can never get a clock advantage (in either direction) by committing a penalty.
For offsetting penalties always put the time back so it's a true do-over.